The immune system consists of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. Mutually, these carry out bodily processes that attack pathogens, which are bacteria, viruses, and foreign bodies that create infection or disease.

When the immune system comes into contact with a pathogen, it activates an immune response. The immune system releases antibodies, which connect to antigens on the pathogens and destroy them.

Why exactly do you need a healthy immune system though?

A robust and well functioning immune system helps you go about daily life as you come into touch with germs and bugs from pets, other people, and your environment. Without a strong immune system, you could pick up infections and infectious diseases more quickly, and the effects could be serious – even deadly.

If bacteria and viruses manage to break through, there are specialized cells that will jump into action. Your bloodstream and key areas of your body carry white blood cells that can attack and destroy the viruses and bacteria they find.

Sometimes, our immune system can overreact and even invade your body’s own cells. This is what occurs in the case of allergies like hay fever and autoimmune diseases.

It’s easy to take the immune system for granted because it does such a good job of preventing us free from infection around the clock! If you have a healthy immune system, look after it and it will look after you.

How to Use Your Immune System to Stay Healthy

Your immune system has to work hard all through the year, whether it’s protecting from a flu virus or an infection that could occur at any time.

“We are given a great immune system that has been built evolutionarily to keep us healthy,” says Bruce Polsky, MD, interim chairman department of medicine and chief division of infectious disease at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.

With little change in your routine and diet, you can ensure that your immune system is powerful enough to protect you against the virus infection.

15 Foods That Boost the Immune System

  • Citrus fruits
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Poultry
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shellfish

Consuming nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can help your immune system fight off illness.

“Try to consume a wide variety of food, and aim to eat fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow,” Zumpano says. “Your plate is more enticing to look at, and you will ensure that you’re getting as many health-boosting vitamins and nutrients as possible.”